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JUNE 19 Comic Reviews

DISCLOSURE: The following is a synopsis and reviews of this week’s comic books from multiple publishers. If you like our reviews and would like to purchase these books you can do so by visiting our partners at TFAW.com. If you decide to buy anything through our provided links we get a small commission which helps keep our website alive and running. Thanks for your time.

BATMAN #149

Batman #149 neatly tidies up not only the events of this most recent arc, but it also sets Batman on a more organized and stable course ahead of July’s “Absolute Power” event by resetting a few things – namely the issues around Bruce’s fortune and him having a home and true base of operations again. But outside of those mechanical elements, the issue is at its heart a slow down in which Bruce faces himself by way of a rapidly aging clone and, in doing so, is able to learn the lessons that he’s somehow resisted learning for years from those closest to him. This introspective journey forces Bruce to confront aspects of his identity and mortality, offering readers a rare glimpse into the personal growth of the character. It’s an interesting, if slightly rushed and superficial, take on the idea of being faced with your own mortality just without the stakes. It makes for a nice read and offers a little more emotion to things, all while table setting for what’s next. I wouldn’t call it filler, but as a coda it simply works.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN: WORLD'S FINEST #28

World’s Finest #28 continues the 5th dimensional shenanigans, with Jimmy Olsen and Robin teaming up against the Doom-Mite, an extra-dimensional being that eats 5th dimensional imps like Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite, while Batman and Superman remain trapped in the 5th dimension with Bat-Mite. This is a decently fun issue, with Robin, Jimmy, and Batman all getting moments to shine, but the strong character moments were somewhat overshadowed by the goofiness that comes with 5th dimension stories, which is not something I generally enjoy, even with such a strong creative team. The whimsical nature of the 5th dimension provides a backdrop that contrasts sharply with the otherwise serious tone typically associated with Batman and Superman, leading to an issue that is lighthearted but may not appeal to all fans. On the plus side, Dan Mora’s art is amazing as always, providing a visual feast that elevates the narrative.

CATWOMAN #66

As answers are finally provided about Selina’s reincarnating predicament—and the target it puts on her back across the criminal underworld—Tini Howard’s script is a kinetic delight. The storyline offers a blend of intrigue and action, delving into the deeper mythos of Catwoman while maintaining a brisk pace. The double duty on art from Ivaan Shavrin and Carmine di Giandomenico strikes an interesting balance between the grounded and the outlandish, with some inventively-rendered fight sequences as well. Their combined efforts bring a dynamic and visually engaging quality to the book, making the action sequences particularly memorable. Here’s hoping the “Nine Lives” arc can stick the landing, as the buildup has set high expectations for a satisfying conclusion.

GREEN LANTERN: WAR JOURNAL #10

The combined talents of Montos and Adriano Lucas cannot receive enough praise in regards to Green Lantern: War Journal #10, an issue that truly embodies the opportunity for creativity that Green Lantern as a premise provides. Montos and Lucas take advantage of that open canvas and deliver stunning pages brimming with color and intensity. From breathtaking scenic vistas of distant planets to harrowing, action-packed sequences filled with cosmic danger, their artwork seamlessly transitions, captivating readers with each panel. Equally impressive is how Phillip Kennedy Johnson weaves together all three points of this story—Hal Jordan’s internal struggle, the broader interstellar conflict, and the mysterious machinations of the new antagonist—while retaining the stakes and momentum for each one. The intricate storytelling and dynamic visuals ensure that Green Lantern: War Journal is still going strong, and as these various angles collide, the series promises to only get better, keeping fans eagerly anticipating each new issue.

JOHN CONSTANTINE, HELLBLAZER: DEAD IN AMERICA #6

Superhero comics have been celebrating metanarratives for more than 30 years, whether in the form of Animal Man’s increasing self-awareness or She-Hulk’s humor, which makes the discovery of a new perspective on that material absolutely thrilling. In Dead in America #6, a new figure joins Constantine’s increasingly strange crew, bringing with them a unique brand of metamagic that defines this issue as the gang escapes Law in Las Vegas. The effective visual cues and nods to modern (and past) storytelling trends are impactful on their own, but it’s the inclusion of a figure reflecting decades of attitudes in Hollywood that fills them with deeper meaning. The narrative oscillates between humorous and stomach-churning, with the arrival of a madman who sees the story offering a meta-commentary on the nature of storytelling itself. This figure’s perspective delves into the legend behind America, the stories produced in its West, and the busful of misfit toys traveling in that direction. It’s another superb issue of John Constantine, Hellblazer, bound to keep comic book readers talking as they eagerly await issue #7.

NIGHTWING #115

Throughout Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s run on Nightwing, and across the accompanying years of the DC Universe, we have been reminded time and time again that Dick Grayson is important. While Nightwing #115 is yet another display of pure artistry, its push towards a grander narrative accidentally calls into question Dick’s elevated status as a brilliant and capable superhero. The issue features expertly crafted action sequences and emotionally charged moments that highlight the depth of Dick’s character. However, the frantic pace of this middle installment unfortunately deflates some of the tension that has been building up. It will surely be fun to see how Dick gets himself out of this predicament as Taylor and Redondo’s time on Nightwing draws to a close, but this particular chapter, while visually stunning and narratively complex, doesn’t quite hit the mark in maintaining the high stakes and suspense necessary to keep readers fully engaged.

TITANS #12

Titans #12 resolves Vanadia’s attack on Titans Tower with plenty of colorful action as Raven’s descent into darkness is tracked in the background. The issue kicks off with a dynamic and intense battle sequence, where the Titans struggle to understand and help the powerful android Vanadia, whose abilities rival their own. The conflict escalates dramatically when Raven arrives, adding a new layer of complexity to the already chaotic scene. The action is presented with clarity and visual flair, featuring several outstanding splash panels that highlight the Titans’ efforts and individual strengths. However, as the battle reaches its climax, the pacing becomes rushed, particularly near the end. The intended confusion of the narrative becomes evident, especially when Raven executes a non-combatant in a moment that is impossible to misread. Yet, her teammates react as if witnessing an entirely different sequence of events, creating a dissonance that isn’t fully explored. There’s little space to unpack this confusion as the loose threads of Ivo’s plot are hastily wrapped up in the final pages. The issue highlights a noticeable gap between the intent and execution of Raven’s rising threat, with her actions already painting her as a villain. The creative team seems to be the only force preventing the Titans from seeing the truth.

WONDER WOMAN #10

For Wonder Woman #10 to be the “finale” of the “Sacrifice” story, the issue doesn’t really resolve or complete anything. The narrative shifts between two main elements: Cassie, Yara, and Donna’s attempt to fly the invisible jet to rescue Diana, and Diana’s experiences on an island with Cheetah. The latter aspect is heavily laden with narration, attempting to explain events but ultimately only filling space without providing clarity. The Sovereign believed they had broken Diana and sent her to the island where Cheetah was being held, but inexplicably, Diana seems to know their plans and turns the situation into a rescue mission. This lack of explanation leaves significant gaps in the storytelling, failing to resolve the issues set up from the start of this run. The story makes abrupt shifts from Diana’s intense struggles in the previous issue to a somewhat anticlimactic ending filled with emotional reunions and hugs. Despite these narrative shortcomings, the issue is visually stunning, with beautiful artwork that brings the characters and their world to life.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #52

McGuinness and Nauck share art duties in an issue divided between Spider-Man’s battle with Ben Reilly and his erstwhile allies gathering. The division functions well, maintaining momentum without sacrificing the consistent aesthetic quality of Amazing Spider-Man. The story is another exciting acceleration in the Green Goblin’s return, filled with action and surprises that are both amusing and shocking. The issue capitalizes on the rich lore established in the current volume, making the convergences of various characters and plotlines feel earned and impactful. Despite the high stakes, the narrative retains the series’ characteristic humor, providing a balance that makes for a fast-paced and thrilling read. The development of distinct characters and concepts over time pays off, giving readers a satisfying blend of suspense and entertainment. The combined efforts of McGuinness and Nauck ensure that the visual and narrative elements are seamlessly integrated, making this issue a standout in the ongoing saga.

BLACK PANTHER: BLOOD HUNT #2

There’s some enjoyable storytelling taking place with the history lesson regarding Bast, Khonshu, and other African deities. The issue dives deep into the rich lore of Wakanda, providing much-needed background on the origins of the vampires and their longstanding history with the African nation. This exploration of mythology and history adds layers to the narrative, giving readers a deeper understanding of the stakes involved. While Black Panther himself doesn’t have much of a presence in this Blood Hunt tie-in, the groundwork is laid for his significant return. The issue concludes on a high note, setting up an exciting shift that promises to bring T’Challa back into the forefront of the action, ready to confront the threats that have been unveiled.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #10

Captain America #10 provides a challenging reading experience, not in that it is difficult to parse but that the stilted dialogue, overt exposition, ill-considered plot mechanics, and other problems make it challenging to maintain interest. The issue introduces another change agent, an inherently undemocratic concept with ubermenschian pretensions, called The Seer. The Seer’s electronic abilities give her a plot-convenient form of omniscience and other poorly defined but overwhelmingly powerful abilities. The action sequences are framed in an unbelievable fashion to achieve desired outcomes—outcomes that likely seemed much better in concept than in execution. The Seer emerges more as a plot device than a fully realized character, with unclear motives and a lack of intrigue. The issue’s reliance on her deus ex machina-like powers undermines the tension and reduces the engagement, making it difficult for readers to invest in the unfolding events.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #9

It’s always challenging to establish a new enemy, especially against a powerhouse like Captain Marvel, but Alyssa Wong has proved more than up for the challenge. Wong has established The Undone as a formidable force that cannot be toppled by sheer power alone, pushing Carol Danvers into more compelling territory as she shifts to outside-the-box strategies. The Undone’s presence is bolstered by the horror-leaning illustrations of Ruairi Coleman and the eerie, atmospheric colors of Bryan Valenza. Their artistic collaboration creates a sense of dread and unease amidst the high-octane action. One particularly memorable visual is the giant spikes with creepy eyes all over them, making the threat feel uniquely sinister. This combination of horror and action leaves a lasting impression. Captain Marvel has found its rhythm with this arc, and all signs point to this chapter sticking the landing, promising an engaging and thrilling continuation of the storyline.

DOCTOR STRANGE #16

There’s a flat quality to the artwork in Doctor Strange #16 that hinders how engaging it is on a visual level since depth feels absent, especially when major action beats are carried out. The lack of visual depth detracts from the overall impact of the scenes, making the action sequences feel less dynamic and immersive. Despite this, artist Pasqual Ferry and color artist Heather Moore do manage to make the vampiric version of the title hero rightly terrifying, capturing the eerie and menacing aspects of his transformation. Their portrayal of this darker version of Doctor Strange stands out with its chilling details and atmospheric coloring. Scribe Jed MacKay brings a very heady concept to what amounts to a crossover tie-in book, digging deep into both Marvel lore and a huge out-of-the-box idea that feels like it’s hitting above its weight class. MacKay’s narrative intertwines intricate Marvel history with innovative storytelling, pushing the boundaries of typical crossover events. The issue’s intellectual depth and creative ambition elevate it, making it a noteworthy installment despite its visual shortcomings.

DRACULA: BLOOD HUNT #2

The cover of this book features Dracula, Blade’s daughter Bloodline, and Daredevil. In the pages of this book is a story featuring Dracula, Blade’s daughter Bloodline, and Daredevil. While two of these characters make perfect sense together, incorporating The Man Without Fear isn’t the go-to guess of who Bloodline would encounter, but it just works. The unexpected team-up feels natural and compelling within the narrative. With the events of the book and most of Blood Hunt taking place in the cover of night, Daredevil is right at home, with every single panel embracing not only the gritty corners of the Marvel universe but also its more macabre characters. The dark, atmospheric setting enhances the storytelling, creating a moody and mysterious backdrop. As if the art wasn’t as moody and mysterious, the exchanges between Daredevil and Bloodline manage to shed insight on what it means to be a hero, as writer Danny Lore finds unexpected connections between their backstories. These interactions add depth to both characters, exploring themes of legacy, duty, and identity. Even though the characters featured in this issue don’t immediately seem like an obvious assemblage, seeing Daredevil lend assistance both physically and emotionally to Bloodline before Dracula recruits her for her most challenging mission yet somehow works on every imaginable level. Their dynamic is compelling and believable, marking one of the best installments in the entire “Blood Hunt” event.

THE IMMORTAL THOR #12

This issue of Immortal Thor concludes Odin’s children’s journey into the In-Betweener’s realm, and not without sacrifice. The sacrifices made are poignant, adding emotional weight to the conclusion of this arc. But even that sacrifice seems small compared to the foreshadowing and warnings of doom peppered throughout. These ominous hints suggest that greater challenges and darker times are on the horizon, setting up future conflicts. Things have been difficult for Thor since this series began, but things will only get more dire from here. The art here isn’t as evocative of Immortal Thor’s desired tone – something acknowledging the tension in Thor’s nature as a superhero based on old Norse mythology – as past issues, but the slicker look isn’t entirely out of place within the In-Betweener’s clean, black and white world. The art style, while different, fits the unique environment of the In-Betweener’s realm, providing a stark and contrasting visual experience. The trick where Loki and Bragi, the two skalds, communicate with each other via narration remains clever, adding a layer of meta-narrative that enriches the story. However, this issue doesn’t entirely live up to the hype of the slow buildup in the previous installment, with some of Odin’s children seemingly summoned only to hang about. Their presence feels underutilized, diminishing the impact of their inclusion. It remains a solid tale, with well-executed elements and engaging plot points, but not the best that readers have seen from the series. The potential for greater narrative depth and character development is evident, leaving readers eager for future installments.

THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #19

With “Fall of X” in the can, Invincible Iron Man tacks to a more humorous tone as it takes down Orchis in this foregone conclusion. The issue shifts dramatically from the intense and serious tone of the preceding arc, introducing lighter elements and comedic moments that provide a stark contrast. There are some good gags surrounding Rhodey and mostly harmless villains collected from the Bar With No Name, adding a layer of levity. These scenes offer a refreshing break from the tension but can feel tonally jarring when compared to the series’ previous approach to this villainous organization. This tonal inconsistency can be seen throughout the issue, as even well-conceived sequences often seem to belong to different comics. For example, there is a seeming advertisement for a future Avengers spin-off, which feels out of place amidst the ongoing narrative. Additionally, there is a genuinely horrifying twist for one of the series’ antagonists, providing a stark contrast to the humor and further highlighting the issue’s tonal shifts. A charming monologue portrays this issue as yet another misadventure in the life of forever-bachelor Tony Stark, adding depth to his character but also contributing to the fragmented feel of the story. Invincible Iron Man #19 wraps many of its plots in a fine manner, providing closure to several storylines. However, these individual pieces never fully cohere into a unified narrative, leaving the issue feeling disjointed despite its entertaining moments.

THE SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK #9

It’s truly a shame that this is Sensational She-Hulk’s penultimate issue because it exemplifies everything that is great—and could continue to be even greater—about this series. Rainbow Rowell’s script is effortlessly fun, capturing the essence of Jennifer Walters’ character as she navigates her return to Earth and contemplates her future. The dialogue is witty and engaging, drawing readers into Jen’s internal and external struggles with ease. Andres Genolet’s art is a dream, both in the earnest facial expressions of the series’ cast of characters and in their sartorial flair. The characters’ emotions are vividly conveyed through Genolet’s expressive illustrations, enhancing the impact of Rowell’s script. The fashion-forward designs add a unique and stylish touch to the visuals, making each panel a delight to behold. The issue balances humor, heart, and action seamlessly, creating a captivating read from start to finish. As the series approaches its conclusion, it leaves fans wishing for more while appreciating the positive note it ends on.

SPIDER-WOMAN #8

Spider-Woman’s move to San Francisco continues to prove fruitful, and the introduction of The Assembly is one more winning part of the new formula. Steve Foxe utilizes the new recruits wonderfully throughout the issue, showcasing their unique abilities and personalities. These new characters serve as both allies and challenges for Jessica, adding depth to her interactions and the story. While they are thorns in Jessica’s side, there’s also a paternal quality that starts to surface with specific members of the team, creating intriguing dynamics. This ties into her current predicament with her son, Gerry, maintaining the emotional thread that has been central to her recent storylines. Although this isn’t the main focus at the moment, it keeps that mission present and meaningful in the overall scheme of things. It’s also always entertaining seeing Jess interact with an ex, and artist Ig Guara and colorist Arif Prianto knock those interactions out of the park. Their artwork captures the tension, humor, and chemistry in these scenes perfectly, adding to the enjoyment of the issue. Spider-Woman has found a winning combination of character development, engaging storylines, and captivating art, making the future look as bright as ever for Jessica Drew’s adventures.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #6

How many more times can Jonathan Hickman and Marco Checchetto get away with this? How can they make it look this easy? How does a reboot of the Spider-Man mythology in 2024 not only remain one of the most captivating Marvel comics on the stands narratively but from a visual standpoint too? Everything about Ultimate Spider-Man feels like a perfectly placed brick, building on a foundation we know but constructing something entirely new. Hickman’s storytelling is masterful, blending familiar elements of Spider-Man lore with fresh twists that keep readers on the edge of their seats. The dialogue is sharp and authentic, giving each character a distinct voice and adding depth to their interactions. Ultimate Spider-Man remains a remix of what we know and what we expect, a zig when we expect a zag; but that alone isn’t why it continues to be something special. Hickman has crafted fully realized versions of these characters that are whole, with lives that exist between issues and beliefs that are challenged with frequency. These characters feel lived-in and real, their development organic and compelling. And Marco Checchetto’s designs for this world feel real, with depth and contrast, where action and dialogue scenes feel equally captivating. His artwork captures the kinetic energy of Spider-Man’s movements, the intensity of battles, and the subtle emotions in quieter moments. This is proof that you can make a story in a major universe with an A-list character and just do your thing, and it can be both rewarding and the readership will flock to it. The synergy between Hickman and Checchetto creates a comic that is both visually stunning and narratively rich, a standout in the Marvel lineup.

UNCLE SCROOGE AND THE INFINITY DIME #1

Uncle Scrooge and the Infinity Dime is, at its core, a love letter to a character that hasn’t received the appreciation he deserves over decades of starring in fantastic adventures. The story is a perfect blend of nostalgia and innovation, capturing the essence of what makes Scrooge McDuck such a beloved character while introducing new elements that enhance his legend. The plot is engaging, filled with the kind of whimsical yet thrilling escapades that have always defined Scrooge’s adventures. If you’re a longtime fan of Scrooge McDuck, this will affirm your love and make you proud of that fandom. The intricate storytelling, combined with heartfelt moments, resonates deeply with those familiar with his past exploits. If you’re a newcomer, there’s a good chance this is just the start of your journey in becoming a part of that fandom. The character dynamics, particularly Scrooge’s interactions with his nephews and other supporting characters, are charming and endearing, drawing new readers into his world. It’s tough to close this issue and not immediately look for one of the character’s many past adventures. The vibrant artwork, with its rich colors and detailed panels, brings Duckburg and its inhabitants to life, making each page a visual treat.

VENOM: SEPARATION ANXIETY #2

The new Venom: Separation Anxiety from David Michelinie remains a return to form of a specific era, and while many readers may not vibe with its extremely wordy plotting, it evokes a very specific style of Marvel Comics. The narrative is dense, with a focus on internal monologues and detailed exposition that harken back to the storytelling methods of the 90s. The best thing that can be said for Venom: Separation Anxiety is that the artistic team are being given access to a great stable of characters. Penciler Gerardo Sandoval has a firm grasp on making Venom/Eddie visually interesting, capturing the raw power and monstrous beauty of the symbiote. His dynamic and energetic style brings a visceral quality to the action scenes. He gets to put a spin on The Thing and a Symbiote-infused Purple Man, it’s fun! These character designs are both faithful to their origins and refreshingly new, adding a layer of excitement to the visual storytelling. His work is elevated by inker Victor Nava and color artist Romulo Fajardo Jr, whose combined efforts enhance the mood and tone of the comic. The inking adds depth and definition to Sandoval’s pencils, while the vibrant colors bring each scene to life, making this one a more fun comic to look at rather than read. The visual team creates a visually arresting experience, even if the narrative style may not appeal to everyone. Their collaboration results in a comic that is a feast for the eyes, capturing the essence of Venom while pushing the character into new, visually engaging territory.

WOLVERINE: BLOOD HUNT #2

Wolverine: Blood Hunt #2 is very matter of fact; Logan and Nightguard need to reach Long Beach and have to mow down waves of vampires to get there. The narrative is straightforward and action-packed, focusing primarily on the relentless combat as the two protagonists slice and hack their way through hordes of undead. The issue excels in delivering the visceral thrills that fans of Wolverine expect, with Juan Jose Rep having a blast illustrating the brutal and bloody fight scenes. The artwork captures the intensity and ferocity of the battles, with dynamic compositions and vivid detail that bring the carnage to life. This still doesn’t feel like a must-read tie-in for the “Blood Hunt” event, as it doesn’t significantly advance the overarching plot, but it delivers on vampire action as promised. The issue may not add much depth to the story, but it provides a satisfying dose of gore and adrenaline for those seeking a straightforward, high-octane read.

DESTRO #1

It seems appropriate that Destro #1 is a comic book that offers readers a shiny exterior and entices them with the promise of humanity concealed below. As the newest addition to Skybound Entertainment’s Energon Universe line—a revamp of Transformers and G.I. Joe properties in a shared universe—Destro arrives with obvious hallmarks of quality: respected creators, top-notch design and presentation, and a recognizable leading man. The visuals are polished and striking, with a sleek design that immediately catches the eye. What’s engaging about the start of this 5-issue miniseries is how it plays its two sides against one another. On one hand, it is a revitalization to resell corporate IP and all of the associated franchise opportunities with a new face, an entertaining if hollow pursuit. The narrative has the trappings of a commercial venture, designed to breathe new life into familiar properties. On the other hand, Destro #1 dares to imagine its central figure as a complex anti-hero who deftly shifts between notes of horror and fascination, reflecting the terrors of modern warfare. This duality adds depth to the character, portraying him as more than just a villain. The story explores themes of morality, power, and the human cost of conflict, tempting even a cynical reader to take Destro seriously. It’s enough to intrigue readers and make them curious about the potential for character development and thematic exploration in the upcoming issues.

FERAL #4

Secrets are laid bare in Feral #4, and truth be told, I wasn’t prepared in the slightest. The issue delivers emotional gut punches that are both unexpected and deeply affecting. Granted, I’m used to Feral finding new ways to leave me heartbroken, but I have to go back to Stray Dogs to find the last time this team broke me quite like this. Tony Fleecs, Trish Forster, Tone Rodriguez, and Brad Simpson are executing a master class in storytelling with Feral, showcasing a consistent ability to keep you completely focused on pure survival. The pacing is relentless, pulling readers into the characters’ desperate struggles and keeping them on edge. The narrative builds tension expertly, leading to massive revelations that shake up everything you assumed you knew. These twists are executed with precision, leaving a lasting impact. The artwork complements the story perfectly, with expressive characters and atmospheric settings that enhance the emotional weight of the scenes. And that’s even before the final page has its say, delivering a cliffhanger that leaves you breathless and eager for the next installment. Feral is must-read status every single month, consistently delivering high-stakes drama and emotional depth. Hopefully, I can keep together long enough to see how it all ends, as the series continues to push the boundaries of what readers expect from a comic book.

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO #307

With this being my seventh review of an issue of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, I feel comfortable saying that reading Larry Hama’s dialogue describing the high-tech military equipment used by the Joes, Cobra, and other factions in this conflict may be the closest I come to the sensation triggered by ASMR videos. Somehow, reading about the finer points of “radar defeating composites” and the “copious load capacity” of a bomb bay interior feels good in a place like this. Hama’s dialogue is believable to effectively blur the line between what’s real and what’s pure sci-fi. The technical jargon and detailed descriptions create an immersive experience, making readers feel like they are part of the action. There’s a lot of old-school charm in how the page design integrates into the artwork. The generous gutter borders surrounding the page add a bit of tension by making the art feel tighter and, if nothing else, stand apart from the full-bleed pages that have become common in modern comics. This issue sees the cold war between the various factions turning hot, affecting the vibe of an action movie, with standout moments like a Joe pulling the trigger on a cyborg’s eye socket from point-blank range. The tension and high stakes are palpable, and the action sequences are both thrilling and visually striking. If that sounds like your thing, this book will speak to you, delivering a satisfying blend of military realism and imaginative sci-fi elements.

THE ONE HAND #5

The One Hand is a consistently stellar bit of cyberpunk noir magic. This issue features a series of beautiful layouts that make moody use of light and shadow and facial silhouettes, diffuse light creating zones of color that mimic the red dots behind Ari in his mysterious interrogation room. The art style enhances the narrative’s atmospheric and introspective qualities, drawing readers deeper into the story’s enigmatic world. Using airplanes as a metaphor for the city, the thematic underpinnings of Neo Noveno that have been present since that first scene with Ari and the therapist in front of the sunny window come to the forefront. The metaphorical use of airplanes highlights themes of freedom, control, and the human desire for escape. Are you willing to sacrifice purpose for freedom? Free will for destiny? There are no easy answers here, and that’s as it should be. The philosophical questions posed by the narrative add depth and complexity, encouraging readers to reflect on the nature of choice and destiny. The series continues to deliver a compelling blend of cyberpunk aesthetics, noir storytelling, and thought-provoking themes.

REDCOAT #3

Redcoat #3 is a fun ride. Geoff Johns clearly has a ton in mind for this new concept, mashing together pieces of classic American folktales with actual magic — the latest being Johnny Appleseed’s seeds that work like tree bombs and George Washington’s hatchet from the cherry tree story being a Kratos-esque magic axe. The creative integration of folklore and fantasy elements adds a unique twist to the narrative, making it both familiar and refreshingly original. Toss in a young Albert Einstein as the plucky sidekick and an immortal facing a three-day countdown to his untimely demise and you’ve got yourself a good time. The character dynamics are engaging, with the young Einstein providing a mix of humor and intellect, complementing the immortal protagonist’s more serious and urgent demeanor. The story balances action, fantasy, and historical references with ease, creating an entertaining and adventurous read. The inventive use of American folklore, combined with Johns’ knack for character-driven storytelling, ensures that Redcoat #3 stands out as a memorable and enjoyable installment in the series.

ARCHIE COMICS: JUDGMENT DAY #2

Judgment Day #2 continues the carnage in Riverdale as Archie and Alistair cut a bloody swath through former friends and neighbors. The stuttered pacing of issue #1 is maintained as well, with much of the story narrated in captions with only brief segments of dialogue to suggest character motivations. This narration-heavy approach creates a detached, almost clinical feel to the unfolding horror, emphasizing the transformation of Archie from beloved teen to ruthless killer. While Jughead is positioned as the (almost certainly doomed) good influence, attempting to remind Archie of his humanity, Betty and Veronica seem to exist outside of the madness, lingering in doorways and tempting Archie before he marches back out. Their roles as symbolic temptations add an eerie, surreal quality to the narrative. The depiction of grindhouse horror offers readers something notable with plenty of monsters and gore-tastic encounters, as the creative team doesn’t shy away from graphic and intense visuals. However, there’s little suspense or fright found in such rushed sequences as the miniseries plots toward its conclusion. The rapid pacing leaves little room for building tension, making the horror elements feel more like shocking set pieces than genuinely frightening moments. Despite this, the issue delivers on its promise of a gruesome and visually arresting experience, keeping fans engaged as the series barrels toward its final act.

BLOW AWAY #3

Blow Away has its first misstep of sorts with issue #3. The issue continues Brynne’s investigation of what happened to Red and Blue, but much of the issue is spent sort of rehashing, in a sense, what we saw in Blow Away #2. The locals don’t want to talk, the sheriff is suspicious, etc. This repetitive narrative slows down the story’s momentum, making it feel like it’s treading water rather than moving forward. While another confrontation with the sheriff does ultimately prompt Brynne to act—and by issue’s end get herself into a serious predicament—it feels a little formulaic in how it gets her there. The predictability of these plot points diminishes the impact of Brynne’s discoveries and decisions. That said, the art throughout the issue continues to paint a picture of isolation and paranoia that echoes the environment, giving the issue a great deal of balance. The atmospheric visuals effectively convey the small town’s oppressive and secretive nature, maintaining a sense of unease. That alone keeps the tension of the overall story intact and elevates everything going forward. The illustrations of desolate landscapes and shadowy figures enhance the narrative’s mood, ensuring that readers remain invested despite the slower pace.

RICK AND MORTY: FINALS WEEK – THE WRATH OF BETH #1

The latest in Rick and Morty’s string of “Finals Week” adventures is delightfully zany and surprisingly profound. Beth’s arc will delight both fans of the show and those just looking for pure awesomeness, as it delves into her character with depth and humor. The story explores Beth’s complexities, balancing her role as a mother and her own ambitions, adding layers to her personality that fans will appreciate. Marc Ellerby’s art takes an inventive approach to the massive alien landscapes and epic action sequences, bringing a fresh and dynamic visual style to the comic. His imaginative designs and vibrant colors make the alien worlds feel alive and wondrous, while the action sequences are fluid and exhilarating. I’m eager to see how the last two “Finals Week” one-shots deliver in their own gleefully weird ways as well. The creative team’s ability to blend outrageous sci-fi antics with heartfelt character moments sets a high bar for the concluding issues, promising more of the unique charm that makes Rick and Morty such a beloved franchise.

BRIAR #6

The consequences of Briar and her friend’s actions continue to haunt her, as they receive no respite, forgiveness, or solace after the disaster that befell in the last episode. The narrative delves deep into the aftermath of their choices, painting a bleak picture of a world unwilling to forget or forgive. While Briar and her friends are trying to do the right thing, prejudice and their own short-sighted actions continue to compound in an awful way. Their good intentions are constantly thwarted by misunderstandings and biases, leading to increasingly dire situations. The misery seems set to continue next issue, although something has to give unless the comic wants to continue to heap more misery on these characters. The relentless string of hardships adds to the tension, making readers anxious about what might happen next. The emotional weight of their journey is palpable, as every step forward seems to come at a great personal cost. The storytelling is relentless in its exploration of themes like guilt, redemption, and the harsh realities of trying to make amends in a world that may never forget their mistakes.

THE DISPLACED #5

The mystery of a disappearing town grows even deeper when the same event happens in a different city. The eerie silence that follows the towns’ disappearances creates a haunting atmosphere, intensifying the sense of loss and confusion. Watching the survivors blink out of existence is pretty sad to witness, and I’m left wondering why no one can remember the survivors exist, and why they are dying when they don’t stay amongst themselves. The survivors’ gradual erasure from memory adds a layer of existential horror, making their plight even more tragic. Part of me wonders if they’re really dying or just being transported to wherever Oshawa, Ontario is now. The unanswered questions pile up, deepening the mystery and pulling readers further into the story’s enigma. The narrative’s ability to blend emotional depth with suspense keeps readers hooked, as the true nature of the disappearances remains tantalizingly out of reach. The characters’ desperation and isolation are palpable, making their journey one of both physical survival and a quest for answers.

HELEN OF WYNDHORN #3

Readers eager to explore the fantasy world suggested in earlier issues of Helen of Wyndhorn will be thrilled by Bilquis Eveley’s pages in Helen of Wyndhorn #3 as Helen and her grandfather set out to return the mysterious creature found in issue #2. The world-building is rich and immersive, drawing readers into a realm filled with magic and wonder. Although the story is still framed by her governess’s perspective, the issue spends most of its space outside the confines of our mundane reality, and every panel of this Howard-influenced world is spectacular. Whether it’s showcasing majestic vistas or a barroom brawl, the series captures the ecstatic joy and wonder associated with the fantasy genre. The detailed artwork brings the world to life, with lush landscapes, intricate architecture, and vibrant characters. All of this visual splendor is grounded in a simple quest, but small details (including a delightfully creepy guardian at the threshold) construct complexity around it. The guardian’s eerie presence adds an element of danger and intrigue to the journey, hinting at the deeper challenges Helen and her grandfather will face. That is true for the meta-narrative surrounding Helen’s exploits, as well, with interview tapes and auctions complicating the very discovery of this story. These elements add layers to the narrative, making the story feel both timeless and contemporary. It’s easy for readers to lose themselves in the visual splendor of issue #3, but it doesn’t mean this story loses any of its ambition in the telling. The combination of breathtaking art and intricate storytelling ensures that readers are fully invested in Helen’s adventure, eager to see what lies ahead.

HERCULES #3

As Hercules’ investigation grows complicated, both new and familiar allies follow him on a journey filled with surprises. The narrative is rich with mythological references and clever twists, keeping readers engaged with its blend of adventure and humor. While some of the jokes get a bit too repetitive, Elliot Kalan’s script maintains a balance between whimsical charm and action-packed sequences, ensuring the story remains entertaining for readers of all ages. The humor often lightens the mood, preventing the story from becoming too serious, and providing moments of levity that contrast well with the more intense scenes. George Kambadais’ art continues to capture the fun of the animated film’s style, with expressive characters and dynamic action scenes that bring the story to life. His ability to infuse the familiar Disney aesthetic with fresh interpretations of new characters adds a layer of visual excitement to the comic. Hercules is proving to be a fun extension of the Disney mythos, successfully blending the classic elements fans love with innovative storytelling that keeps the narrative fresh and engaging. The interactions between Hercules and his allies are a highlight, showcasing the camaraderie and conflicts that drive the story forward.

HOUSE OF SLAUGHTER #24

The fight between Jace and The Order of St. George is now boiling over in chaotic fashion, and House of Slaughter #24 is setting the stage for what should be a thrilling and bloody final confrontation. Tate Brombal delivers a long-awaited Maven spotlight, showing how deadly Jace’s lone ally truly is. Maven’s character is fleshed out with depth and nuance, revealing her motivations and skills in a way that enhances the overall narrative. Antonio Faso and Miquel Muerto make those moments absolutely shine, creating a brutal sequence that ends all too soon. The art team excels in depicting the intensity and violence of the battles, using bold lines and striking colors to convey the raw power of the characters. That’s paired with a one-on-one battle between Jace and Rene that’s also quite intense, though its length and monologuing does hurt the book’s overall pace. The extended dialogue can sometimes detract from the momentum of the action, but it also provides important context and character development. That said, by the issue’s end there’s one hell of a hook, effectively bringing me back in just in time. The cliffhanger promises a dramatic and explosive resolution, making the final confrontation something no one should miss. The build-up has been meticulous, and the payoff is set to deliver a satisfying conclusion to this arc.

JAMES BOND 007 #6

Garth Ennis’s James Bond story wraps up in delightfully bloody and brutal fashion. Bond completes his mission to make sure the Russians don’t get their hands on a Cold War superweapon, while also determining who led to its initial theft in the first place. The plot is tightly woven, with each twist and turn carefully crafted to keep readers on the edge of their seats. There’s plenty of gruesome violence mixed with humor this issue (an Ennis classic), with the action sequences being both visceral and darkly comedic. Ennis’s trademark blend of brutality and wit is on full display, providing a unique take on the James Bond mythos. The artwork complements the story perfectly, with gritty, detailed illustrations that capture the raw intensity of the fights and the bleakness of the Cold War setting. The final showdown is a masterclass in suspense and action, delivering a satisfying conclusion that ties up loose ends while leaving a lasting impression. Ultimately, this comic brings the story to a satisfying ending, balancing the high-stakes espionage with personal vendettas and revelations. Fans of Ennis and Bond alike will find much to appreciate in this thrilling finale.

JOY OPERATIONS 2 #1

I didn’t know what to expect when picking up this issue, but I came away very impressed. If you’re not familiar with the first volume of Joy Operations, Brian Michael Bendis, Stephen Byrne, and Joshua Reed do a great job of getting the reader up to speed on the dynamic between Joy and Hampton. The opening pages provide a seamless recap that integrates backstory with current events, making it accessible for new readers without feeling redundant for returning fans. The art is easy on the eyes, with Byrne’s clean lines and vibrant color palette bringing the futuristic setting to life. The environments are detailed and immersive, effectively drawing readers into the high-tech world. The story keeps a steady pace, balancing character development and plot progression with skillful ease. The interactions between Joy and Hampton are layered with tension and complexity, hinting at deeper conflicts and histories. A little bit of action tossed in at the end provides a thrilling climax, leaving readers eager for the next installment. The action sequences are well-choreographed, adding dynamism to the narrative without overwhelming it. Overall, this issue sets up intriguing new arcs and promises further exploration of its rich, sci-fi universe.

MAN'S BEST #4

As Man’s Best nears its end and the journey becomes increasingly weird, more chances are taken with layouts and compositions, which adds some flair and excitement to this issue. The creative team experiments with panel structures and visual storytelling, including one especially arresting two-page spread that stands out for its artistic innovation. However, the plot and characterizations still feel overly simple, even for a story about three pets. The narrative doesn’t delve deeply enough into the characters’ inner lives or motivations, resulting in a somewhat superficial exploration of their journey. With each character firmly locked into their spot on the optimist-pessimist spectrum, there’s not much variation in their behavior, making their actions and dialogue often repetitive. This lack of character growth or development can make the story feel stagnant at times. The art is strong enough to make it feel worthwhile, at least for those fond of intricate layouts that play with dimensionality. The visuals add a layer of complexity that the story itself lacks, providing a richer experience for readers who appreciate detailed and inventive artwork. However, the story feels stretched thin, as if it could have been condensed into fewer issues without losing its essence.

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVOLUTION #2

What appeared to start as just another Masters of the Universe tie-in comic has become something a little more intriguing with a dramatic tension that was unexpected given the franchise. Tim Sheridan pens the script, which, while dense at times, deploys a twist in its latest issue that will raise eyebrows. The plot twist adds a layer of depth and unpredictability, making the story more engaging than a standard tie-in. Daniel Hdr delivers solid work on the pencils, capturing the iconic characters and settings with precision and flair. His dynamic action scenes and expressive character designs keep the visual narrative compelling. His art is elevated by the moody inks of Keith Champagne, which add texture and depth, enhancing the dramatic tone of the story. The pop of the colors by Brad Simpson brings vibrancy to the pages, making each scene visually striking. This one is a true team effort that, while slow at times, is hitting above its weight. The collaboration between the creative team results in a comic that is greater than the sum of its parts, offering fans a surprising and engaging addition to the Masters of the Universe saga. The pacing might be deliberate, but it allows for a more nuanced exploration of the characters and themes, setting up an intriguing foundation for future issues.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: BLACK, WHITE, & GREEN #2

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Black, White, & Green #2 is a fantastic issue. The issue contains four stories, each one exploring a different angle or centering around a different character, and as such each story has its own energy. The diversity of narratives allows for a rich exploration of the Turtles’ universe, showcasing different aspects of their lives and personalities. That said, what this issue does very well is it stacks the different stories in a way that makes sense: tales of neighborhood justice, teamwork, and family that all play together to give a more detailed portrait of the Turtles and their world. The thematic consistency across the stories creates a cohesive reading experience, despite the varied tones and styles. Of the four stories, only the last one, “Deadly Delivery,” feels a little unfinished or unfocused, perhaps due to its abrupt ending or lack of clear resolution. However, the other stories more than make up for this minor shortcoming. Each narrative is brought to life with distinct artistic styles that make excellent use of the black, white, and green color palette. The use of green varies just enough from each story to make it visually interesting as well, adding a unique flair to each tale while maintaining the book’s overall aesthetic. The interplay of light and shadow, combined with dynamic action sequences, enhances the visual appeal and immerses readers in the gritty yet vibrant world of the Turtles. Overall, this book is a delight on every page, offering both long-time fans and new readers a captivating glimpse into the lives of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE LAST RONIN II – RE-EVOLUTION #2

The second issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin II – Re-Evolution is well-drawn and written but does hit a few problems, particularly with the recap of Fugitoid’s history. The detailed backstory may be helpful for more casual TMNT fans and even the more invested since it veers from previous tellings, but it grinds down the pace of the current narrative. This issue is conversation-heavy, filled with dialogue that, while informative, slows the momentum. The frequent use of two-page spreads lends it a big-screen quality, giving the story a cinematic feel that enhances the dramatic moments and provides a visual spectacle. By the issue’s end, we seem to have established a pattern of the new generation of Turtles unlocking elemental-themed powers. The introduction of these abilities adds an exciting layer to the story, hinting at future challenges and adventures. It’s a fine, if familiar, construct but readers putting this together before the characters have a clue, and only two issues into the story, has the potential to make the long road to full realization less smooth than it could be. This early revelation might diminish some of the suspense, as readers are already anticipating developments that the characters have yet to uncover. Despite these pacing issues, the character development and interactions remain strong, providing emotional depth and highlighting the evolving dynamics within the Turtle family. The artwork, rich in detail and vibrant in color, continues to impress, capturing both the action-packed sequences and the quieter, more introspective moments with equal skill. Overall, this issue sets the stage for intriguing developments, even if the journey there requires a bit more patience from its readers.

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